Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Rules For Politely Using Wired's Antisocial Gadgets came up with a list of the 5 Anti-Social Gadgets That Should Be Banned. Here's some guidelines worth heeding when you want to pull out one of these 5 gadgets. 

1. Speakerphones - Wired cites the example of someone using this to play music on a train. That in itself is rude. DON'T DO IT.  In any Train situation...don't do it. No one should hear you, period. If you must listen to music, grab some headphones. Speakerphones themselves are useful in situations where you don't have your bluetooth headset, or don't have one at all. Especially useful is this feature if you find yourself in a state that requires headsets while driving, like California, New York or Connecticut. 
Rule of Thumb: Keep it to yourself, unless in an enclosed car.

2. Bluetooth Headsets - Again, something that, I believe, should be reserved for the long commute to work, or when you find yourself driving alone. Not only is it weird when someone looks at you and is on their bluetooth headset, it also says to the general public, "I have no time to give you my full attention because I'm talking to someone else." Even rude to the grocery store cashier. C'mon...give them your full attention.
Rule of Thumb: Save it for the drive home, or drive alone.

3. Customer Ringtones - Customer Ringtones are like the answering machine of the future. Remember when it was fun to leave crazy songs or slogans on your answering machine simply because you wanted to be different? Then your boss calls or a future boss calls? Not so funny anymore to hear 50-Cent cursing before the beep. Same goes for custom ringtones, only with ringtones you're standing right next to the cell phone when it rings BLARING "Sexyback", or "When I Grow Up." While fun and customizable, I say keep it simple stupid. You don't need 50 ringtones to distinguish people's calls, necessarily. Choose one, stick to it, and make it something you won't be embarrassed about if your grandmother were standing next to you when it goes off, or if it went of in a job interview. Don't deny it, you will be judged based on your ringtone choice, so choose wisely.
Rule of Thumb: Keep it simple, stupid.

4. E-Books - I completely agree with Wired on this one. Totally unromantic is the Amazon Kindle. Also, what's to say for eye-strain and fatigue? Real books you can hold in your hand are much much more fun and lead to much more interesting adventures. I bought a couple of copies of one book at a local used bookstore for some co-workers because I had raved about it so much. When I sat down to read the first few pages of one of the copies, I noticed a note on the inside cover. This is another side of the romanticism taking place here. The scroll is no substitute for handling the pages in your hand, or noticing the notes your grandmother or a previous reader made. This is what makes books all the more special. They're treasure chests with worlds inside. Crazy huh? So don't do it, I say! Don't do it!
Rule of Thumb: Save it for the morning paper on the subway and that is IT.

5. Satnav (who calls it that anyways? ) GPS Navigation Systems - I once had a co-worker who got lost while driving between a hotel and the film set with a GPS, iPhone with Google Maps, and a set of paper directions with her. Not only that, she had done that route before. So even with all those aides in hand, she was still lost for 30 minutes. This is an extreme example, but the same holds true with a lot of people. They rely SO much on these GPS systems that they forget where they are! One of the most valuable tools my Mother ever taught me was how to use a map. Don't OVERUSE it. That's the problem. The information is really only valuable when you don't know where you're going. 
Rule of Thumb: Save it for getting to new places.

I would also like to add a new rule: When in social situations DON'T USE YOUR GADGETS!
If you are in a room with more than 2 people, why do you have a need for checking your e-mail on your Blackberry/iPhone/Sidekick? Why do you need to send a text message just to send a text message when you're at a friend's house? Why do you need to IM someone when at the movies? or at a Party? A show? Really?

If you do feel the need to use your gadgets...use them to stimulate conversation, engage the group and overall add to the social situation instead of subtracting from it. Google the actor someone mentioned, or can't remember the name of. Once you find the name, PUT IT AWAY. Send a quick Text Message to someone who's running late, but MAKE IT QUICK. 
If it has little or nothing to do with the scene you are in at the moment, or is not a Life or Death situation...IT CAN WAIT. 

All in all, use your gadgets responsibly and bloggers will have no need for these articles at all. Use common sense and take advantage of the people sitting right in front of you.

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